"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

08 January 2010

Need We Be Provocative to Raise Awareness?

Starting late last night, women all over America began posting the colors of their bras on Facebook in their "status" box, all because someone had the brilliant idea that this was a good way to "raise awareness" for breast cancer.

I find this troubling on several counts.

First of all, ladies, what happened to the days where lady-like discretion was valued? Since when has it been acceptable to declare to the public (which, despite the fact that you may be sitting by yourself in front of the computer, most of us have hundreds of people on our friends lists, most of whom we are not terribly close to) what you are wearing underneath your clothes? Like a friend of mine said, you wouldn't email your friends (especially your male friends) or call them up and tell them what color bra you're wearing. That would be called sexual harassment. At least in that case, there would be a level of privacy. These seemingly "harmless" games add up to the stumbling blocks that Jesus tells us comes from Satan.

Secondly, I'm all for having fun while working towards educating the world (I mean, I AM a teacher at heart), but really, what educational purpose does posting the color of your lingerie on Facebook serve? So your friends might ask you what it's for. Most people's answers would probably be limited to, "Oh, it's to raise awareness for breast cancer."  And? What about breast cancer? What are the latest numbers? What can we do to be more proactive? Most people wouldn't go into all that, and thus, how is this raising awareness? We all know breast cancer is out there. Now I also know what color bra you're wearing today. Let's educate, ladies, not entice.

Thirdly, there's something bothersome about men knowing what their friends' wives are wearing as lingerie. I have to admit, when I first heard about this, I thought, "Oh, cute." But then I started thinking about the men I might run into during my day today. Men who are friends of mine of Facebook. Men who I don't want envisioning me in my underwear! And really, I've seen some distasteful "comments" from men following the bra color postings of our sisters such as, "Make sure it stays in the car! Wouldn't want it hanging out!" Why are we giving men a venue to respond in this way?

I'm not a mom yet, but I am a youth leader. I also volunteer as a peer counselor at a crisis pregnancy center.  I care deeply about the young women in my life, and the young men (and older men) in their lives. Sometimes, as youth leaders, we wonder why we feel like we're talking to brick walls when we discuss the sacredness of femininity, of modesty, mystery, and beauty with our girls. All these subtle messages we send out to our girls that modesty is "old-fashioned," that being lady-like is "prudish," and that beauty means "flaunting what God gave ya" is harmful to the development of our girls' identities. We need to be helping our young people grow up gracefully, not with the mindset of "do what it takes to get what you want" and "a little bit of fun won't hurt ya."

In the end, that's all this "awareness effort" was. It was sexy and provocative without really crossing the line. But that line was crossed for me when somebody decided it would be "fun" to encourage women all over the country to share a part of themselves that really doesn't need to be in a very public arena. Let's have fun, ladies, but let's also be smart about it. I mean, there were some people posting colors without even knowing what it was for! Can we use the brains the good Lord gave us?!

Scriptures say that everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.  I think this is a clear-cut case of such a circumstance.

And, as my friend Annie said, "How much money did sharing a color raise for breast cancer research?"

I think I was born in the wrong century.


  1. *NOTE: Several friends of mine who I cherish and respect chose to participate in this. I am not offended by their choices. I only desire for us women to be thoughtful and intentional in our actions ... on all levels. I know I fail every day in that! What bothered me most about this whole event is that in the name of "raising awareness," we would resort to this. I feel like there are better, more creative ways, you know? I apologize if my thoughts on this matter are offensive to anyone. That is never my intent.

  2. And I adored Amy's response (one of our favorite teens): "How does posting the color of your undergarment on the internet really help fight cancer?!?! Join the Relay for Life Walk instead (and get National Honor Society Hours on top of it!) Come on, ladies- don't be so silly!"

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  4. Honey, thank you for not promoting images of yourself on the Internet. I'm glad you are reminding us all to promote good causes in a respectful and dignified manner. I really dislike that "save the ta-tas" went into use in recent years. Does that really promote compassion or action from anyone? At any rate, I am so proud to be your husband and partner in ministry!

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